The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. It is spread over an area of approximately 2,100,000 square miles (5,500,000 square kilometers) in South America. In terms of national boundaries, it extends into 9 South American nations. In fact, this forest also occupies the Amazon basin. Amazon is the world’s second longest river, and the creek of this river ranges from Andes mountain range to the west and Atlantic Ocean to the east.
What is a Rain-forest?
As the name suggests, a rainforest is a dense and diverse jungle which witnesses a great extent of rain every year. We can further divide the trees of rainforest into the following four layers:
1. Emergent Layer
The tallest trees have the emergent layers in the jungle, which are 200 feet above rest of the forest floor. This is mainly home to eagles, butterflies etc.
2. Canopy Layer
Canopy layer is the upper layer of the tree which is 100 feet above the ground. This layer of a forest is made up of protruding branches and leaves. Snakes can be found in this layer of the forest.
3. Understory Layer
This part of a tree is also known as the trunk. In this layer, sunshine can reach but in very little amount, which also helps the tree grow sizable leaves. Animals like jaguars and leopards live here.
4. Forest Floor
In the forest floor, decomposition takes place at high speed . The compost, in turn, helps in further sustenance of the forest. Giant anteaters live here.
What is the History of Amazon Rainforest?
Amazon river came into being by the formation of Andes mountain and the Guyana-Brazilian link which has blocked the river. And very swiftly, this inland water body became the freshwater lake where stringrays or cartilaginous fish can be found. And approximately ten million years ago, the water streamed from the west to the east, enabling the Amazon forest to grow.
Where is the Amazon Rainforest Found?
As per analysis of satellite data, Amazon rainforest can be found in countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Suriname, Ecuador, and French Guinea. Almost 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest lies in Brazil.
Which Flora and Fauna Can be Found in Amazon Forest?
There are various kinds of flora and fauna that can be found here. To be precise, nearly 40,000 types of flora can be seen here such as Brazil-nut tree, palm trees, and epiphytes (trees growing on other trees). Ferns, and vines to name a few also abound.
What’s more is, these flora are growing in the harshest environmental conditions already, and hence cannot be destroyed by animals living in the forest. Therefore, some plants are attuned to releasing toxins at the time of an attack to preserve themselves.
Fauna can also be seen here in a large number. “The Lungs of the Earth” is home to nearly three million types of insects and 3,000 different kinds of fish. Howlers, alligators, jaguars, anacondas are common animals which can be found here. However, these animals reside in different layers of the forest as per their expediency.
How Deforestation of Amazon Rainforest is Going to Affect the Ecosystem?
Cutting down of Amazon rainforest is going to disturb the ecosystem to a great extent. For many years now, deforestation is taking place in Amazon for various reasons. The major inducement for the acts is cutting down trees for the timber industry, crop growing, cattle farming etc. The deforestation is in direct relation to the climate change. Higher temperature will reduce the amount of rainfall, which will in turn cause drought. Another way in which deforestation can affect the environment is by reducing the number of trees that convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Moreover, it is likely to affect the pharmaceutical industry too. At present, nearly 25 percent of modern medicines are made from the Amazon forest.